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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1,
”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 1, til 31 dec. 1916

Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 06/07/1915
Arrival of telegram: 06/21/1915
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 49
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 49

Copy. (UM.Journ.No. 139.D,1.9). Legation de Danemark.

Constantinople, 7 June 1915. (received 21' the same month).

Mr. Foreign Minister,

I have the honor here to send the 1. issue of a new Turkish, French-language daily newspaper, "Hilal" (The Crescent) [This newspaper is not enclosed with the document].

After the local daily newspaper "Le Jeune Turc," which had originally been a mouthpiece for the Young Turk Committee, but which had after several ups and downs eventually slid into the hands of the Zionists, had for about 1 1/2 month ago been banned by the Turkish government because the editorial staff had refused to bring an article, sent to them by the press bureau, which criticized the Zionist movement, the only paper here in Constantinople of any significance written in a "European" language is "La Turquie," which is an Italian organ that can be expected to be stopped any minute now, and "Osmanischer Lloyd," which is the organ of the German colony. The Young Turks therefore felt the significance of getting themselves a truly Young Turk organ in French, and that is the mission that "Hilal" shall fulfill.

"Hilal" is closely connected to the semi-official "Tanin," from which it borrows most of its material. Its editor, Agaoglon Ahmed Bey, former editor of the chauvinist "Terdjuman i Hakitat," is about 50 years old and with a significant intellect, a great patriot, and, according to what is being said, quite an adventurer. He is of Tatar origin and his original name is Ahmed Agaieff, a name he later Turkified. He once participated in the organization of the Armenian massacres that preceded the Russo-Japanese War.

His assistants will be Munir Niguiar Bey, married to a French lady, son of the well-known Turkish poetess Niguiar Hanum, and formerly a writer of theatrical reviews, etc., in "Stamboul" (the French organ that was stopped when the war broke out), but who has never dealt with politics, and a Frenchman, Coupette, who will supervise the linguistic side of the paper. The last-mentioned journalist, who came to Turkey about 2 1/2 years ago, is an eager socialist and calls himself "Citizen" Coupette. Except from these 3 journalists, "Hilal"s material will be the same as "Tanin"s.

It is interesting to see that "Hilal," a semi-official organ in French whose first editorial sharply emphasizes the need for a national Turkish organ, appears in the very moment when, on the orders of the government and in harmony with the prevalent chauvinist mood, the French language disappears from all shop signs and windows.

The first issues of "Hilal" do not seem to be of particular interest. The press is for the moment naturally characterized by the war, down here by the German reports on the progression of the war, to such a degree that an independent character is almost out of the question. And one cannot really see much difference between the main part of the material in "Hilal" and in a paper such as the German "Osmanischer Lloyd."

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully


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